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|Next chapter:||Dragon Valley|
Bart Inkbeard had made his peace with his role as one of the first killers in the Battles. It was for Serena. After everyone was dead, he would kill himself, making it look like food poisoning or a wild animal had done him in. Serena would be declared Champion of the Nineteenth Goth Battles. She would go home to riches and her choice of a list of prizes, be it guarantees that someone would or would never be a contestant, an opportunity to be in the Battles again with the scales tipped in her favor, or any Battle-related thing she asked-- as long as the Battles would still continue after her wish was granted. There was one legendary but hated psychopathic 17 year old girl who demanded that three of her enemies would be in the arena, and that she'd go back in. No one knew how she got four wishes, maybe Alexander sensed her plan would be terrifying for people to watch, but she ended up in the arena eating roasted enemies. She won again, then killed herself the moment they began to announce her victory. Bart hoped his leaving and eventual death wouldn't drive Serena insane. It was necessary. Patty and Jonah wouldn't make it; he could see it in their faces. He knew it. If anyone from Barnacle Bay would survive, it would be him. But he wanted to change that, even if it meant slaughtering a group of under-trained Hidden Springs kids. Tonight, when the sun was down, he would attack.
Max knew he was going crazy. He thought it was giving him an edge. Take that girl from Twinbrook who cooked her enemies. If she hadn't been stupid enough to kill herself, she would have been golden. Now, starting with the massacre of the idiotic Hidden Springs kids, he would make himself a legend. Maximus McDermott, the Champion of the Nineteenth Goth Battles, Alpha of Riverview. He could be a celebrity, with money, fame, girls, whatever he wanted. No matter if everyone hated him; it would be a crime to say so. All he needed was to start somewhere, prefferably with the biggest pansy from Hidden Springs. Tonight, when the sun was down, he would attack.
The three Hidden Springs teenagers that weren't still in the boat tried glumly to start a fire in a small ditch, not knowing that it would be a beacon for two contestants on the hunt. Emmit Preston got the twigs in the ditch to catch the spark from the chunks of rock, and a fire crackled to live, illuminating three lonely, regretful, bleak faces. They all worried about Annie. Sidney was sure she was dead already. Emmit thought she was turning into a brutal threat without them holding her back. Charlie believed she was trying to kill herself. None of them thought she was doing well. They weren't even thinking of their own safety.
Bart Inkbeard attacked first.
With a fierce determination to think of them as nothing at all, he charged with the weapon he'd found: A club with a single blade emerging from the end. Hearing panicked screams, Maximus, hidden nearby, attacked as well, hoping to earn at least some credit for the first few deaths. His spear he dropped in his haste, but it didn't matter. With a swift movement he had Charles Winterly in a headlock. With a jerk and a sickening snap, Charlie is the first in the Goth Battles to die. Sidney screamed and ran, but Bart swung at her ankle. It dislocated and she fell to the ground, shrieking. Bart forced emptiness into his mind as he drove the blade of his club into her chest. With a final bloody scream, Sidney was dead. Emmit roared and lept at Bart, pushing him down onto the leg of Sidney's body. Emmit tore at Bart's clothes and face, and Bart tried desperately to get free. With a gleam in his eye, Maximus picked up Bart's club, intending to drive the end through Emmit and into Bart. He overestimated it's length. It pierced Emmit, and he gasped, coughing blood into Bart's face before going limp. As far as Bart and Max knew, Hidden Springs was done for. They assumed the fourth was already dead somewhere. Max looked at Bart, then at the club imbedded in Emmit. Then he saw a way to double his kills yet still win: make an alliance and end it with Bart's death. "Pact?" Max asked. Bart nodded. Everyone knew what that meant. A pact was an agreement to kill together, always together, until the pact was dissolved which only happened in the case of death. If you wished to end a pact, you had to kill your ally. It was serious. There was almost never more than one in one Battle. Giving pact was a show of weakness. If the pact was rejected, the person who gave it would likely get killed the next second. But not Max McDermott. He knew that. Bart knew that. And so a pact was formed.